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Foodie visiting NYC from Toronto alone

Hi. Having given advice many times to Chowhounders who have visted Toronto I now find myself on the other end!

I'm visiting NYC alone this weekend until my friend gets here Monday and was wondering if anyone can suggest some places for lunch and dinner Sat, Sun & Mon where I would be comfortable eating alone (at the bar or otherwise). Dont get the idea that I am into always spending really big bucks but I have decided to splurge on the fixed prix lunch at Eleven Madison Avenue as I heard the renowned Chef Daniel Humm give a presentation in Toronto at one of our culinary arts schools.

I tend to veer away from beef (unless it's grass fed) or other meats, but do love fish and many different types of cuisine. I am more into what goes into the meal than what I call 'architectural food' where the emphasis is more on presentation than the absolute best ingredients.

Also if anyone knows of any great food stores I could visit that would be welcome too.

Thanks.

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  1. Eleven Madison Park isn't open for lunch on weekends. Do you have a reservation for Monday?

    Top help narrow down the many options for solo dining in NYC:

    - do you have a budget in mind (for food only, before drinks, tax, and tip)?
    - where are you staying?
    - any culinary preferences?
    - do you like ethnic food?

    Some options for bar dining:

    Marea
    Momofuku Ssam Bar
    Ma Peche (limited bar menu)
    Modern Bar Room
    Lupa
    Babbo
    Scarpetta
    Maialino
    Nuela
    Hotel Grifffou
    Empellon
    Perilla
    Craftbar
    Osteria Morini
    Hung Ry
    Kin Shop

    -----
    Lupa
    170 Thompson Street, New York, NY 10012

    Perilla
    9 Jones Street, New York, NY 10014

    Eleven Madison Park
    11 Madison Ave., New York, NY 10010

    Babbo
    110 Waverly Pl, New York, NY 10011

    Momofuku Ssam Bar
    207 2nd Ave, New York, NY 10003

    Spotted Pig
    314 W 11th St, New York, NY 10014

    The Modern
    9 West 53rd Street, New York, NY 10019

    Craftbar
    900 Broadway, New York, NY 10003

    Scarpetta
    355 West 14th Street, New York, NY 10014

    Marea
    240 Central Park South, New York, NY 10019

    Hotel Griffou
    21 W 9th St, New York, NY 10011

    The Breslin
    20 W 29th St, New York, NY 10001

    Maialino
    2 Lexington Avenue, New York, NY 10010

    Ma Peche
    15 W 56th St, New York, NY 10019

    Nuela
    43 W 24th St, New York, NY 10010

    Kin Shop
    469 6th Ave, New York, NY 10011

    Hung Ry
    55 Bond St, New York, NY 10012

    Empellon Taqueria
    230 W 4th St, New York, NY 10014

    10 Replies
    1. re: H Manning

      I don't think Ssam is that great for a pescatarian. Ditto for Babbo and Osteria Morini, where the best dishes involve pork, lamb, poultry, etc.

      -----
      Babbo
      110 Waverly Pl, New York, NY 10011

      Osteria Morini
      218 Lafayette St, New York, NY 10012

      1. re: H Manning

        That's a good list.

        I just realized I misread the Eleven Madison Avenue website. I'll see if I can get a table for one for Monday.

        I'm at 32/5th Avenue but distance isn't an issue with me. I love ethnic food (and there seems to be a lot of asian food around here). I usually like to spend about $25 for lunch and $50 for dinner (without tip and tax) and I don't eat dessert.

        I'd also like to find a good breakfast place that does egg dishes really well.

        1. re: Flexitarian

          Locanda Verde does excellent egg dishes. I'm a big fan of the Uovo Modenese with Cottechino Hash, Spinach and Tomato Hollandaise. They serve breakfast daily.

          My favorite eggs benedict has smoked salmon on latkes and can be found at Minetta Tavern. 2nd favorite eggs benedict in town is probably at Blue Ribbon Bakery. Serrano ham, Jarlsberg, and tomato on toasted challah.

          Public also does a good one: on Greek yogurt with kirmizi biber butter.

          For a good breakfast sandwich, try Clinton Street Baking Company: their famous buttermilk biscuits, scrambled eggs, melted cheese, crispy bacon, and excellent house-made tomato jam. And how about the truffled egg toast at 'ino/'inoteca?

          Pulino's Bar and Pizzeria as well as Motorino offer pizzas with egg on top; I think Pulino's either has it on the menu or allows you to add an egg to the pizza, daily for breakfast, lunch, dinner, late dinner, whereas Motorino's I think is only for weekend brunch

          -----
          Minetta Tavern
          113 MacDougal St, New York, NY 10012

          Blue Ribbon Bakery
          33 Bedford St, New York, NY 10014

          'ino
          21 Bedford St, New York, NY 10014

          'inoteca
          98 Rivington St, New York, NY 10002

          Public
          210 Elizabeth Street, New York, NY 10012

          'inoteca
          323 3rd Ave, New York, NY 10010

          Locanda Verde
          377 Greenwich St, New York, NY 10013

          Clinton Street Baking Co.
          4 Clinton St, New York, NY 10002

          Motorino
          349 E 12th St, New York, NY 10003

          Pulino's
          282 Bowery, New York, NY 10012

          1. re: kathryn

            Also, to chime in... the tea-smoked salmon eggs benedict at Public (topped with yuzu hollandaise) is fantastic.

            I do not eat eggs regularly (BF has an allergy, I just don't really care for them) but that dish is absolutely fantastic. Joseph Leonard does eggs quite well too and would be very nice for a solo diner. They had an eggs benedict with lobster that was phenomenal but it doesn't look like it's on the current menu.

            As for food stores: Eataly is a must-visit, Murray's Cheese, and Kalustyan's are the first three that come to mind. You could spend all day in Eataly alone.

            -----
            Murray's Cheese
            254 Bleecker St, New York, NY 10014

            Kalustyan's
            123 Lexington Ave, New York, NY 10016

            Joseph Leonard
            170 Waverly Pl, New York, NY 10014

            Eataly
            200 5th Ave, New York, NY 10010

            1. re: loratliff

              Yes I kept an article about Eataly from the Times and am heading there today and will also visit those other two places you mentioned, thanks.

              Have a res for Eleven Madison for Monday lunch now.

              -----
              Eataly
              200 5th Ave, New York, NY 10010

              1. re: Flexitarian

                If you like eggs, Minetta Tavern would be a good place to snag a seat at the bar for brunch (go early, like 11-1130). You can get the shirred eggs with black truffles or their latkes with smoked salmon, poached egg and dill hollandaise. Both awesome.

                -----
                Minetta Tavern
                113 MacDougal St, New York, NY 10012

                1. re: ChiefHDB

                  I tried the Minetta Tavern and went around 2pm and had no problem getting a seat at the bar..Great service. Great ambience. I had the shirred eggs (with morels and chervil now) and they were fantastic.

                  Thanks for the recommendation.

                  -----
                  Minetta Tavern
                  113 MacDougal St, New York, NY 10012

                  1. re: ChiefHDB

                    As you can see above, I agreed... But I think the latkes are better than the shirred eggs!

                    1. re: kathryn

                      Glad you liked it!

                      The latkes are very good, but I'd really like to try the shirred eggs with morels instead of truffles. Such tough choices...

                2. re: loratliff

                  I like the Murray's Cheese suggestion. Actually, the whole stretch of Bleecker St. around Murray's Cheese is fun to browse (and taste) at lunchtime, especially if you are able to take anything back with you. There's an Amy's Bread location; a Seafood Place location with various oysters that I think you can have them shuck for you on the spot, soups (skip the sushi); Keste for Neapolitan style pizza; Grom for gelato; Cones for more gelato; Rocco's for Italian pastries; Ottomanellis butcher shop (though perhaps not helpful unless you have a kitchen where you are staying); Blind Tiger Ale House for great grilled cheese sandwiches, much better than average pub grub, and lots of great beers on tap.

                  Loratiff's suggestion, Murray's Cheese Shop, has some prepared foods, soups and good olives.

                  -----
                  Murray's Cheese
                  254 Bleecker St, New York, NY 10014

                  Cones
                  272 Bleecker St, New York, NY 10014

                  Rocco's Pastry Shop
                  243 Bleecker St, New York, NY 10014

                  Amy's Bread
                  250 Bleecker St, New York, NY 10014

                  The Lobster Place
                  252 Bleecker St, New York, NY 10014

                  Blind Tiger
                  281 Bleecker St, New York, NY 10014

                  Ottomanelli and Sons
                  285 Bleecker St, New York, NY 10014

                  Grom
                  233 Bleecker St, New York, NY 10014

                  Keste Pizza & Vino
                  271 Bleecker St, New York, NY 10014

          2. Eleven Madison Park is a wonderful choice for lunch. The price is now three courses for $56, though, not the $28 bargain it used to be for two. Also note that they don't serve lunch on weekends and are closed Sundays. However Jean George does offer a similar deal Monday through Saturday. Note that many of our fine dining establishments don't serve weekend lunch and/or are closed on Sundays.

            Here's some ideas for bar dining:

            http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/759698
            http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/761463

            Since you're a pescatarian, I'd especially recommend Scarpetta, Pearl Oyster Bar, Kyo Ya, Hearth, off the top of my head.

            Overall NYC is very solo diner friendly, you'll find.

            -----
            Pearl Oyster Bar
            18 Cornelia St, New York, NY 10014

            Eleven Madison Park
            11 Madison Ave., New York, NY 10010

            Jean Georges
            1 Central Park W, New York, NY 10023

            Kyo Ya
            94 E 7th St, New York, NY 10009

            Scarpetta
            355 West 14th Street, New York, NY 10014

            1. Best food shopping/food souvenirs:
              http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/7571...

              1. You've been so helpful to folks on the Toronto board, I feel badly that I didn't see this post earlier and give you more help, in return. I guess you have one or two more meals left, alone, though, so here are a few ideas for places I've found to have exceptionally high quality ingredients. Not all of them are seafood centric, but I note which ones are:

                - Ma Peche (a few good seafood dishes in the menu, rumored to have a good raw bar, too; vegetables dishes are often spiked with meat, so meat in some sort will be hard to avoid; I mention this restaurant because the ingredients are EXCELLENT and you should be able to go for lunch or dinner on short notice; I've seen solo diners at two-tops.)
                - Recette (good ingredients, a smattering of seafood plates on the menu; I've seen solo diners at two-tops)
                - Joseph Leonard (decent to very good oysters, depending on your luck; really lovely, down-to-earth bartenders to chat with as much or as little as you want; competent salads, including the smoked salmon with greens; more a neighborhood favorite than a NYC "destination")

                Lau recently reviewed Takashi on this board, which I also like. I know you shy away from beef unless it's grass fed. I *believe* that the sashimi cuts served are from grass fed cows. They are in any event humanely raised, hormone free and from good sources. (http://www.takashinyc.com/aboutus/ind...) The meat is pristine. I also really love the namul there, though it's not really advertised very much.

                Tell us if you are looking for something more specific and don't be shy about negging ideas that do not suit so we have a better idea of what you are looking for. I do hope we help you find some wonderful eats during your stay.

                -----
                Joseph Leonard
                170 Waverly Pl, New York, NY 10014

                Ma Peche
                15 W 56th St, New York, NY 10019

                Recette
                328 West 12th Street, New York, NY 10014

                Takashi
                456 Hudson St, New York, NY 10011

                2 Replies
                1. re: michelleats

                  Have to disagree with Joseph Leonard being thought of as a neighborhood restaurant rather than a destination. Of course, it's a neighborhood restaurant to me, since I live in the neighborhood, but the food is good enough for it to be a destination.

                  Super place for a solo diner, as it's small, so you can avoid the wait time that comes with a larger party. Lovely staff. I wouldn't go for the oysters—too many other great things on the menu. Recent favorites include their amazing ribeye, duck breast, and the spring veggie stuffing.

                  -----
                  Joseph Leonard
                  170 Waverly Pl, New York, NY 10014

                  1. re: loratliff

                    Maybe I have unreasonably high standards for food in other neighborhoods since I'm also an unreasonably lazy subway commuter. If I lived in a faraway neighborhood, I personally would not make a special trip for the food at Joseph Leonard, though I do think the kitchen is competent. I would think about making a special trip to hang out with the great bartenders.

                    I will look out for your three favorite dishes and promise to report back if they change my mind. :)

                    -----
                    Joseph Leonard
                    170 Waverly Pl, New York, NY 10014

                2. Just wanted to say thanks to everyone for the tips. I took up a number of them and they were all great. I'll have to save many of them for my next trip back!